Belfast Telegraph

Child killer Black's relatives sought for his inquest

By Victoria Leonard

A coroner is seeking to discover whether child killer Robert Black has family members who wish to participate in his inquest.

At a preliminary hearing yesterday, Patrick McGurgan said he felt it was "important" that the family of Scottish-born Black, who was convicted of murdering four children, was "given every opportunity to participate fully" in the process.

"All efforts should be made to contact the next of kin," he said.

Black (68) died in Maghaberry Prison on January 12, 2016 after suffering from heart disease.

A representative of the Coroners' Service told the court that it was his "understanding" that the paedophile lorry driver, whose first known victim was nine-year-old Ballinderry schoolgirl Jennifer Cardy, "had some family here" in Northern Ireland.

However, no relatives attended Black's funeral service, which took place at Roselawn Cemetery almost a year ago.

The PSNI and Prison Service had been unable to find anyone who would take responsibility for his funeral.

The Northern Ireland Prison Service said that Black's ashes were scattered at sea.

Black was put up to be fostered within weeks of his birth in 1947.

A couple from Kinlochleven in the West Highlands who took him in both died within 11 years, and Black spent the rest of his childhood in residential homes in Falkirk and Edinburgh.

At yesterday's hearing, Mr McGurgan also asked that enquiries be made to ensure that any relevant GP notes or records for Black be made available to the Coroners' Service. Black's death will be the subject of a jury inquest later this year.

In 1994, Black was convicted of murdering Susan Maxwell (11), from the Scottish Borders, Caroline Hogg (5) from Edinburgh and 10-year-old Sarah Harper from Morley near Leeds. All of the killings took place in the Eighties.

There was also a failed abduction bid in Nottingham in 1988.

However, it is thought that Black had many more victims.

The killer's long reign of terror was ended in 1990 when he was caught red-handed by police with a barely alive six-year-old girl who was hooded, bound, gagged and stuffed in a sleeping bag in the back of his van in the Scottish village of Stow.

He had sexually assaulted her moments earlier.

Jennifer Cardy was snatched by Black as she cycled from her home to a friend's house on August 12, 1981.

Black, who worked as a delivery driver, abducted and assaulted Jennifer before throwing her body in McKee's Dam, near Hillsborough.

But the Cardys had to wait 30 years before they came face-to-face with Black in an Armagh courtroom. He was finally found guilty of Jennifer's murder in 2011.

Already serving a life sentence at the time of his trial for her murder, he was sentenced to another 25 years and told he would be 89 before he would be considered for release.

Police in England said that they had been planning to charge Black with the murder of another girl, Genette Tate (13) who was last seen in a rural lane in Aylesbeare, Devon, in 1978.

However, he died before they could bring him back to court.

Belfast Telegraph

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